Living in the US has a lot of freedom when it comes to money management and other financial decisions. This level of individual choice is highly valued, but can cause some confusion as well. The information should provide some guidance on such issues for international students, scholars, and employees.
It is a good idea to open a US bank account as soon as you arrive to deposit your money rather than keep a lot of cash with you. American banks provide a convenient and safe place to keep your money because they have insurance on all funds kept in them. Many Americans pay their expenses with a debit/check card or checks from their personal checking account. There are several banking options available on-campus, and many more in our surrounding areas. Feel free to shop around for the best services and interest rates that will suit your needs! On-campus locations include:
Chase Bank: Branch offices are located on-campus in Todd Union, River Campus, and in the Medical Center. ATM terminals are also available behind the Rush Rhees Library and at 3 other locations within the hospital.
Advantage Federal Credit Union: ATM terminals are available in Susan B. Anthony Hall, River Campus, and in the Medical Center lobby entrance on Crittenden Blvd. Their local branch office is at 1625 Mt. Hope Ave. (map)
HSBC Bank: An ATM is located on the 2nd floor of Wilson Commons, River Campus. However, there is NO physical branch office located in the Rochester area. An account would need to be opened prior to arrival and all banking would need to be coordinated online.
Eastman School of Music Campus: There are many banking options within walking distance of the ESM campus downtown. There is an ATM on the 1st floor of the Miller Center, which charges a small fee for each use.
Students are advised to have money wired directly to their own local bank account by electronic transfer from their overseas bank. Money transfers are also available through private companies, such as Western Union, but will require a Visa or Master Card to transfer money over the telephone. Otherwise, you must visit a local Western Union office to arrange the transfer. Keep in mind that Wire transfers can take up to 21 days.
There are many tools that can help you maintain a balanced budget while you are studying in the US. Please find one that works for you! Maintaining a balanced budget is necessary for you to focus on your studies and keep your immigration status intact. Your bank can probably offer budgeting tips and tools upon request. As an example, Chase Bank offers an online resource on Budgeting Basics.